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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY             247

the privilege of the limited class which was destined to rule in

Church and State.  " Not the children of the rich or of the poweF-"

l| ful only," he insisted, " but of all alike, boys and girls, noble and

j) ignoble, rich and poor, in all cities and towns, villages and hamlets,

J should be sent to school."*   He saw, too, that education could

only have its proper effect if account were taken of the nature of

the learner.   " J^eJea^jeOLt^                               r?La?ter f

nature."   Instruction must be fitted to the child, not the chSIdTto"^
the instruction./

But in working out his scheme of education, Comenius had
other predecessors than Luther. The philosophy of life which
gives distinctive character to his methods was not derived from
Protestant theology, though it had kindred elements, but from
the views of various thinkers who had carried the Protestant
spirit into science and philosophy in the search for new truth.
His dependence on Francis Bacon, the great English representative
of this school of thought, is obvious in the reverence for experience
which leads him to insist on acquaintance with particular facts
always preceding the knowledge of general rules, as well as in the
ideal of an assured system of universal knowledge as the goal of
learning. His greatest debt, however, was not to Bacon, as he
sometimes implies. Bacon was mainly interested in natural facts ;
Comenius wished for a system of knowledge which would include
both the natural and the supernatural. For the foundations of this
more comprehensive system he went to certain Italians like
Giordano Bruno and Tomasso Campanella, who combined a
mystical idealism with the realism of science ; and the philosophy
which underlay his educational work, both on the objective side
in his view of the world and on the subjective side in his view of
the development of the human soul, is substantially this Italian
philosophy.

Following its mysticism he thought of the soul of man and the
visible universe as a twofold manifestation of deity, and conse-
quently in most intimate relations with one another. Man, made
in the image of God, comprehends the whole created world in
himself: he is the microcosm of the universe. From which it
follows that learning is a process of development from within, and
not the acquisition of knowledge from without. The soul needs
no urging or compulsion in its growth. By its very nature as an
* Keatiage, p. 66.